I attended a workshop on career development recently and the topic of employee engagement came up. One participant mentioned that her co-workers can tell when she is stressed out, overwhelmed or otherwise disengaged by a noise she makes when she sighs. She described the sigh as ‘the sound of a moose dying.’ This brought a lot of laughter and empathy to the room, mostly because we have all been there. In our own ways, we have all made the dying-moose sound related to our career development.
Can you relate to this woman? If so, there are two steps to determining how seriously you should take these signs. First, get your hands around the size of the issue. Second, determine your steps for making a correction.
Find out if there is a larger problem here
The dying moose sound is her ‘tell’. It’s the symbol that something is not right and she needs to adjust. This might mean she needs a small change. She might need to meditate or deeply breathe for a few minutes, go walk around the building, play her favorite song or something else that helps relieve the feeling of stress, feeling overwhelmed or disengaged.
OR, this might mean she needs a bigger change. I am not her coach. If I were, I would wonder things like:
- How frequently does she notice the sigh?
- What types of activities or interactions are causing her to feel stressed, overwhelmed or disengaged?
- Where does the sigh happen? Only at work, or is it something her family members notice?
- Is this a new feeling or has she experienced it in past jobs?
- What changes in her job (or her life) have contributed to the feelings?
Get back on track with your career development
This sigh, while humorous to others, is a sign that something needs to shift. It is a fundamental part of managing our career and keeping up with our own career development work. This individual has a level of self-awareness to know something is not right. It now requires some inner reflection and exploration to really understand what is going on and what steps need to happen to make a change.
What career development steps do you need to take? Look at your answers to the questions above and drill down into the reasons behind your feelings about your job – whether those are reasons you love your job or reasons you don’t. Career development, on a basic level, means finding ways to move your career towards the things that make you happy. Do this a few times per year to adequately manage your career.
I wish we all had such an easy ‘tell’ when our career felt out of alignment. We all have the ‘tell’, but for some it is hidden much more. I would encourage you to regularly have a career check-in with yourself to understand what is going well and where you have challenges. You may identify some areas for change before the sound of a dying moose is ever uttered.
Do you have a ‘tell’ when you are overwhelmed or stressed? Please share, even if it doesn’t remind others of a dying animal. 🙂
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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